How Infidelity Affects Mental Health
No one ever wants to be on the receiving end of romantic betrayal. The emotional pain of discovering that someone you love and trust has engaged in infidelity can be overwhelming.
When you are the victim of massive deception and betrayal, it can leave you feeling sadness, confusion, resentment, and anger. Many victims also feel an increase in their anxiety and a decrease in their self-esteem. But infidelity doesn’t just affect our emotional health, it also affects our mental health.
In fact, many victims of infidelity experience the same symptoms that are linked to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), becoming totally disoriented and confused as to what has happened to them.
Some of the classic symptoms of PTSD often experienced by those whose partners have cheated on them are:
- Looping intrusive thoughts
- Inability to regulate emotions
- Out of body experiences
- Oscillating between feeling numb and rageful
- Hyper alert (looking for new potential threats)
- Feeling helpless and vulnerable
- Confusion and disorientation
- Problems with memory and cognition
- Lack of trust
If you have been the victim of infidelity, then know that you, like a soldier returning from war, have been psychologically injured and you require tender care to set you on the path back to you. If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, ask us why EMDR might be a good treatment option for you.
Healing from Infidelity
As devastating as it can be to learn that your significant other has betrayed you in such an intimate way, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can pick up the pieces of your life and find joy and comfort once again.
Here are some ways you can begin to heal after infidelity:
Be Gentle on Yourself
Don’t fall into the “I should have known…” trap. This is not your fault. Now is the time to be on your own side.
Your emotions will be overwhelming for a little while. You will feel lost, anxious, and panicky. When these feelings start to rise, STOP, take a slow deep breath and let it out. Take another one and another one. It is amazing how deep breathing can completely calm us almost instantly. Your breath will become your new best friend.
Remember, you’re not just healing from infidelity, you are healing from the PTSD that the infidelity caused. You will need some professional guidance to help you cope with the symptoms you are currently experiencing.
The Counseling Center offers traditional couples therapy as well as our Relationship Lifeline Couples Therapy Group. The Relationship Lifeline Program is a 7-week, counselor-facilitated, online therapy group for couples in all types of romantic relationships. Clients will receive an individual relationship assessment from one of the group facilitators during the first week. The remaining six weeks consist of online group therapy sessions. Relationship Lifeline meets Wednesday from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. The cost of the entire program is $450/couple. To register for an upcoming group, call the Counseling Center today at 317-754-0808, or complete the contact form located to the right. You can also click here to schedule a free 15-minute telephone or Zoom consultation.